Originally published May 25th, 2011. Updated version includes excerpts from Jessie Beck.
I interned at Peace Corps headquarters throughout college, and over four years, was taught a good amount about what volunteers do and why they join. I also learned some common reasons why people forego volunteering through Peace Corps -- whether it's the time commitment, inability to pass the medical exams, or they fell in love with a job (or person!) while waiting out the lengthy application process, there are a ton of reasons why aspiring Peace Corps volunteers never actually join.
And that's fine. Peace Corps isn't for everyone, but if you've had the itch, there's a chance you still want to volunteer abroad. Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives, which can be broken down into separate categories that address both your needs and the needs of the community you want to help.